Saturday, July 7, 2012

Cyrano De Bergerac at the Outdoor Forest Theater in Carmel

Cyrano De Bergerac was a real man.

No, seriously, he really existed... though he's best remembered for the works of fiction thus based on his life. Though his nose was not nearly so long as described in those fictions, he was a noted duelist and composer of tragedies. The play is by Edmond Rosand and was adapted into English by writer Anthony Burgess. And this story is about the real soul of a man (Richard Boynton as the titular character) hampered by a physical deformity. He's an artist, a duelist, a courageous man willing to battle 100 men at one time for no more than the opportunity to defend a mere acquaintance. Despite his courage, his talent, and his skill he is plagued with doubt because of the very large nose which he feels deforms his face. So while he is in love with paramour "Roxanne"(Michelle Vallentyne), he is unwilling to woo said strumpet.

The crux of the story is this: Roxanne is attracted to the handsome Christian de Newillette (Timothy Samaniego), a new recruit to the same regiment as Cyrano. When she tells her dear friend and cousin, de Bergerac, he is heartbroken but conceives of an idea to help his courageous new sword-brother to woo the lovely Roxanne by using his own words. Christian, a brave but not too terribly bright young fighter, accepts the help of Cyrano and successfully wins the heart of Roxanne. But for how long can they maintain the charade, and what will be the final cost to all three?

The ensemble cast is fantastic, providing a moving background of interesting characters who shine in various ways. We believe these people are really the friends and associates of Cyrano, that they feature prominently in his life, and that our brief glimpses into them remind us that Cyrano is just one story of many in the streets of Paris. Samaniego and Boynton shine on stage together, with the latter somehow managing to win the respect of Cyrano despite his foolishness and the jealousy between them. Act 2 truly gives the relationship between the three characters an opportunity to shine, with Roxanne reacting with near-orgasmic pleasure to the words of de Bergerac as he and Christian alternate in the wooing beneath her balcony. The epic battle scene in the 3rd act is well staged and fantastically choreographed with various duels taking place throughout the wilderness surrounding the Outdoor Theater. Use of the natural setting is uses at various points throughout the production, allowing the audience to feel as though we are in the thick of events and possibly more than just mere flies on the wall.

If you get a chance, check out the Outdoor Forest Theater in Carmel and enjoy some good refreshments while kicking back to this entertaining performance. If that's not enough to convince you, there's a juggler opening the show! Small slight of hand magic tricks are performed before the audience is sucked into the world of Paris, 1640.

5 out of 5.

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